Madeleine - Madeline

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The two female forenames Madeline and Madeleine are in essence the same, both being later derivatives of Magdalen(e). They are homophones, both being pronounced in RP as 'MAD-e[r]-lin', IPA: /ˈmæd ə lɪn/.

  • Madeline is the one more traditionally associated with England and the English language.
  • Madeleine is the spelling more traditionally associated with France and the French language.
There is a famous small cake in France called a [petite] madeleine. As it is French, it (and the baking tins in which it is made, etc) should always be spelled the French way, with the '-e-' within the last syllable. It is famous because of its use in Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu (1913-27) (translated by Scott Moncrieff in 1933 as Remembrance of Things Past, and as In Search of Lost Time by D.J. Enright in 1992). In it, the smell and taste of a madeleine unleashes a flood of memories in the narrator's consciousness. This is often referred to in the conversation of those who read French, or wish to appear educated, as the type of a deep subconscious memory - a 'madeleine moment'.